Representatives from all across professional baseball descended on Louisville last week for the 2013 Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar. The Promo Seminar is an annual gathering that offers some of the best idea sharing in the industry.
Assistant General Manager, Matt Callahan, and Promotions Director, Anthony Pettograsso, made the trip to represent the ‘Cats. The Galt House was the host hotel and offered some unique features, including the glass walkway pictured above. This walkway connected the hotel’s two towers, housed a bar, and looked out over the Ohio River.
The seminar kicked off with a welcome luncheon on Tuesday afternoon followed by a series of “Group Therapy Sessions.” These round table-style meetings serve as a guided discussion covering topics ranging from on-field promotions to stadium operations.
These sessions are a great opportunity for MiLB executives to share best practices, new ideas, industry trends, and discuss challenges that they face in their markets.
Wednesday included a popular segment called “Around the Horn” where each team shares one of their best promotions. This always produces some great ideas as well as some good laughs as the emcee, Todd “Parney” Parnell keeps things light.
Wednesday afternoon featured some panel discussions focusing on bigger picture items such as the future of Minor League Baseball. Astros Team President, Reid Ryan, was one of the featured speakers during this segment.
At the end of each day, the seminar included some networking functions as well as some informal opportunities to get to know your industry peers in downtown Louisville.
Some other attractions from around the city included:
The ValleyCats were nominated for a “Golden Bobblehead” Award in the category of Best Non-Game Day Event or Promotion. On Thursday morning, they presented “The Show on the Road” promotion to the attendees along with the other finalists.
This promotion was a partnership with Hannaford Supermarkets that saw the ‘Cats bring their entire in-stadium experience to East Greenbush-Castleton Little League.
Despite some excellent feedback from other teams, we were ultimately beat out by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders who hosted the wrap party for the show “The Office.” The star power of Michael Scott (Steve Carell) running the bases definitely carried the vote.
The seminar concluded with a trip to the Louisville Bats home field: Louisville Slugger Park.
The Bats are the Triple A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and play their home games just off the banks of the Ohio River.
The ballpark seats over 13,000 fans and includes some unique areas such as:
It was a very productive trip and we look forward to implementing some new ideas as we begin planning for the 2014 season!
On Friday night, we hosted the Rensselaer County Relay For Life at “The Joe” as we joined in the fight against cancer!
Over 369 people participated in the festivities, raising a total of $56,000 in the fight against cancer!
The festivities began at 6:30pm with the introduction of the Relay committee members, who put in a number of tireless hours to make the night possible.
Pat Spain, a cancer survivor born and raised in Wynantskill, NY, was the guest speaker. Spain was the host of National Geographic Channel’s “Beast Hunter” back in 2011.
Following Spain’s impactful speech was the survivor lap, where all the cancer survivors in attendance walked around the warning track, and were greeted by their family and friends.
Tons of activities took place throughout the night including Zumba, a scavenger hunt, water balloon toss, poker lap, trivia, musical chairs, frozen t-shirt contest, and more!
At 9:30, the Luminaria Ceremony began. Following the reading of a few different inspirational poems, bags symbolizing those who lost their lives to cancer were lit up along the warning track in remembrance. Then, all participants took a lap around the warning track as a music slideshow of pictures was played on the video board remembering those who lost their lives.
Activities continued throughout the overnight hours, until things wrapped up at 6:30am with breakfast and then the closing ceremonies. Here are a couple great sunrise shots:
We are glad to have been part of such a great event, and look forward to hosting Relay For Life 2014!
It’s been just over one week since the ‘Cats hoisted the New York-Penn League Championship Trophy high above their heads after a thrilling victory in the final game of the New York-Penn League Championship Series.
Many fans have asked why the players don’t stick around for a celebration with the hometown fans. The reason is because there are a handful of players who have to report to the Astros spring training complex in Kissimmee, Florida, just two days after the season ends.
Those players that are selected, are going for something known as the Instructional League, commonly referred to as “instructs.” The goal is to enhance the skills of the recent draft picks under close instruction from Astros coaches and coordinators. Other players who may attend include those who are rehabbing injuries, learning new positions, preparing for the Arizona Fall League, etc.
The others are anxious to get back home. Some haven’t seen their family and friends for nine months, other than for maybe a few days in-between the end of their college season and when they were assigned to the ValleyCats.
While all of the players and coaching staff have left, the ‘Cats front office is busy showing off the championship trophy!
How convenient that the Uncle Sam Day Parade in Troy occurred just two days after the ‘Cats championship victory! What a great opportunity to show off the new hardware!
Now onto a celebration of a different kind. This past Wednesday, the Ninety Nine Restaurant location on Wolf Road in Colonie, celebrated their 10 year anniversary! It was the first Ninety Nine Restaurant location to open in New York State.
We have had a tremendous partnership with the Ninety Nine for the past three seasons, and it was our pleasure to be part of the celebration!
Each season, the ‘Cats partner with the Ninety Nine Restaurants on a Kids Eat Free promotion. During the season, the day after a ValleyCats win, all kids eat free at the Capital Region’s six Ninety Nine Restaurant locations!
We can’t wait until next June to kick off this promotion once again!
Finally, many fans have also inquired about championship gear. Our championship t-shirts will be available online and at “The Joe”, on Tuesday, October 1st! We’re also in the planning stages of a complete trophy tour, and will have more championship merchandise in the weeks and months ahead.
The ‘Cats 2013 season came to a fantastic ending on the night of Thursday, September 12 in State College, PA! The ‘Cats defeated the State College Spikes 4-3 in the winner takes all Game 3 of the New York-Penn League Championship series, to capture their 2nd league title in four years!
The series was an epic battle of the league’s number one team on paper, the State College Spikes, versus a ValleyCats team that boasted two of the top league ERA leaders in Michael Feliz & Kyle Westwood, along with the league’s best defense.
With State College having the best record at 48-27, they had home field advantage. That meant that Game 1 would take place at “The Joe”, and Game 2 and 3 in State College.
The Spikes took Game 1 of the Championship Series 2-1, in a close extra inning game that came down to a couple of mistakes. Grills made one bad pitch all game long, allowing a home run to Spikes outfielder Mason Katz. Then, in the 11th inning, ‘Cats relief pitcher Edison Frias threw the ball past first base on a sacrifice bunt attempt, allowing the go-ahead and eventual winning run to score.
Following the tough loss, the ‘Cats boarded a bus and headed to State College with hopes of taking the next two ballgames.
Prior to Game 2, the ‘Cats were loose and ready to go. Even though the Spikes held the best home record in the league at 30-8, and had never lost two games in a row at home all season, the team had confidence in their ability to overcome the tough task ahead of them.
Following the tough loss in Game 1, the ‘Cats victory in Game 2 was a huge confidence booster, as they now stood one game away from being New York-Penn League Champions.
The 2013 ‘Cats were now looking to turn the tables on what happened to the 2012 ‘Cats. Last year, they won Game 1 of the championship series against the Hudson Valley Renegades, but lost the next two.
This year, the ‘Cats were sending Kyle Westwood to the mound for Game 3, who has a better ERA (0.81) than Michael Feliz (1.96), but was a few innings short of the minimum needed to qualify for the league ERA title.
With Westwood on the bump, the team knew they had an excellent shot!
Sanudo would get through the 8th inning easily, but ran into trouble in the 9th. With a 4-1 lead, Sanudo gave up a two-run home run to Mason Katz, and then allowed a single.
A sac bunt would move the tying run into scoring position with one out, but Sanudo proceeded to strike out the next two batters to capture the New York-Penn League Championship for the ‘Cats! It was their second league title in four years.
Here are some photos of the final out, followed by a fitting celebration on the field!
So that wraps up another season of ValleyCats baseball, an unforgettable season! Championship merchandise will be available very soon, so keep checking our website, tcvalleycats.com for team store updates. To purchase these photos, or from a selection of many others, please visit tcvcphotos.com.
Thanks again to all the fans who came out to “The Joe” this season! We couldn’t have achieved this success without your support!
The ValleyCats held a brief workout on Monday afternoon, in preparation for Game 1 of the New York-Penn League Championship Series on Tuesday night at “The Joe.” The ‘Cats will face the State College Spikes, affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, in a best-of-three series to determine who will take home the NYPL Championship Cup.
First pitch is set for 7:05pm, and the ‘Cats will send LHP Evan Grills to the mound to face Spikes RHP Arturo Reyes. The ValleyCats and Spikes faced off against each other three times during the regular season, in State College. The ‘Cats were swept 3-0 in the series, but that was a much different team than they are now. The ValleyCats have since added pitchers that include closer Gonzalo Sanudo, set-up man Tyler Brunnemann, Chris Munnelly, Troy Scribner, Justin Hess, Zachary Dando and Krishawn Holley. Position players added include third baseman Tyler White, outfielder Ydarqui Marte and infielder Yonathan Mejia.
Most recently, the ‘Cats have been assigned catcher, Brian Holberton from the Greeneville Astros. Greeneville lost in game 3 of their league championship series, and Holberton had already been home. But when ‘Cats catcher Jake Rodriguez was injured in the game against Aberdeen on Saturday night, Holberton was added as an extra catcher. He looks to be inserted into the Game 1 lineup at designated hitter. Holberton was the 9th round draft selection of the Houston Astros this season out of the University of North Carolina.
The ‘Cats send their ace, Michael Feliz to the mound for Game 2, and if necessary, Kyle Westwood for Game 3.
The workout on Tuesday afternoon was very light, and the team was very loose. They are ready for the challenge that awaits them. Here are some great photos:
The ‘Cats defeated the IronBirds 3-0 on Saturday night at “The Joe,” sweeping the semi-final series of the New York-Penn League playoffs. The ‘Cats now advance to the championship series for the second year in-a-row.
Here are game and celebration photos, shot by team photographer Greg Fisher (SportsThroughTheLens.com / tcvcphotos.com). Check out his webpage for more photos, or to purchase the copies of those below.
The ValleyCats clinched their second consecutive Stedler Division Title with a victory on Tuesday night.
Evan Grills turned in a clutch performance in limiting the Cyclones to just two runs in six innings of work. Grills recorded a season high eight k’s and did not issues any free passes.
The ‘Cats broke it open in the third inning as they plated three to take a 6-2 lead. Ronnie Mitchell led the way with two hits, including a big R.B.I. triple. The offense also displayed some patience working seven walks against the Cyclones pitchers.
Gonzalo Sanudo’s eighth save of the season closed it out and paved the way for a celebration in front of the home crowd!
Tuesday night was also our first ever Oktoberfest Celebration at the ballpark. Coined “Brats, Beer, & Baseball”, fans were greeted by Herb Liebenhagen playing some traditional German tunes on the accordion.
The Picnic Pavilion was turned into a German Beer Garden with an Oktoberfest-style menu!
The ‘Cats closed out the season with “Fans for Life Night” on Wednesday. Stay tuned for that recap shortly . . .
In the meantime, Playoff Tickets are on-sale now as the ‘Cats prepare to host Game 2 at “The Joe” on Saturday night!
The ‘Cats kicked off a crucial three-game set against the Brooklyn Cyclones at ” The Joe” on Labor Day!
After giving up an early run, Kyle Westwood dominated scattering three hits over seven strong innings. The bats came alive with a big eighth inning rally. Tyler White led the way with three hits including the game winning R.B.I. double.
The ValleyCats lead is now 1.5 games and they have a chance to clinch the Stedler Division with a win tonight! Evan Grills is on the mound as we get an early start on the Oktoberfest festivities. Tonight’s game is a 6:00 PM start and tickets are available here: http://www.milb.com/tickets/singlegame.jsp?sid=t577
Labor Day also marked our 2nd annual celebration of the Capital Region’s Biggest BBQ with two separate buffets taking place in the Picnic Pavilion and at the Top of the Hill.
The BBQ theme featured some backyard-style competitions including a wiffle ball home run derby, with the finals taking place on the field. Congratulations to Zachary Mackey who won the derby and earned a ceremonial first pitch!
Our friends from Fresh Brewed provided the entertainment with a great set of blues and classic rock on the concourse.
Kids ran the bases following the game to complete the Sunday Funday feel on Labor Day.
The ValleyCats return home on Labor Day to take on the New York Mets affiliate, Brooklyn Cyclones from 9/2 – 9/4. The ‘Cats are making a push to reach the playoffs for the 2nd straight season!
Monday, September 2- @5pm POSTGAME FIREWORKS!
- Labor Day at “The Joe!”
Spend your day off with friends and family enjoying the fun and excitement of ValleyCats baseball!
- Capital Region’s Biggest BBQ! (3:00pm – 5:00pm)
Join us for an all-you-can eat BBQ dinner from 3:00pm – 5:00pm at either our Picnic Pavilion or Top of the Hill Bar & Grill! Starting at $20, entrance includes a one-hour pregame all-you-can-eat buffet and a reserved box seat for the game. Will be sold individually or as a group. (pending availability) FULL DETAILS / PURCHASE TICKETS>>
- Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby!
Want to be part of our wiffle ball home run derby? We’ll be taking registration for participants beginning at 3pm at the softball field beyond the right field fence. The final round of the derby will take place on the field prior to the game!
- Pregame Concert by The Fresh Brewed Band!
Enjoy LIVE music performed by The Fresh Brewed Band from 3:30pm – 4:30pm!
- 4pm: Pregame catch on the field!
All kids and their parent/guardian will be allowed on the field from 4-4:15 for a pregame catch!
- Postgame Kids Run the Bases!Following the game, all kids will get the chance to run the bases!
Tuesday, September 3- @6pm (Gates open at 4:30)
- Brats, Beer & Baseball!Join us for our own German festival at the ballpark!
- Oktoberfest Celebration: $20 Ticket & Dinner Package!Enjoy an Oktoberfest dinner beginning at 4:30pm with a menu that includes brats, mini potato pancakes, red cabbage, sauerkraut, pretzels and peanuts! Also receive three 12 oz. beer tickets to enjoy a great selection of craft beers that includes Sierra Nevada, Saranac, Lake Placid Brewery, Peak, Ommegang, Captain Lawrence, Saratoga, Long Trail, Shed, Switchback and Founders! You will also receive a Reserved Box ticket to enjoy the game! FULL DETAILS / ORDER TICKETS>>
- College Student 2-for-1 Ticket Special!
Show your college ID at the box office to receive a FREE ticket with the purchase of another at equal or lesser value.
- Pregame LIVE music!
From 4:30pm – 5:30pm there will be LIVE music next to the Brown’s Beer Stand.
- Two For Tuesday!
Enjoy 2-for-1 beer specials! (Excludes Brown’s and import beers)
Wednesday, September 4- @6pm POSTGAME FIREWORKS!
- Fans for Life Night!
We pay tribute to our fans, the best fans! Tons of giveaways all night long!
- New York Lottery Take 5 Coupon Giveaway
The first 500 adults through the gates will receive a buy one get one Take 5 drawing coupon.
Forget the fact that the ‘Cats had a four game lead over the Lowell Spinners and are now sitting in second place, a half a game behind. Forget the fact that the ‘Cats have lost five games in-a-row. Tonight, more than any game played this season, is the night that the ‘Cats need a victory. They need to put the past behind them and look at the big picture.
Yes, mathematically the ‘Cats can still reach the playoffs if they happen to lose tonight and fall 1.5 games behind. Can they afford that? Not a chance.
Following the game tonight, the ‘Cats return to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on Monday for the final series of the regular season, a three-game set with the Brooklyn Cyclones. If the ‘Cats enter that series 1.5 games behind Lowell, they will need to win at least two of three from the Cyclones, and hope the Spinners lose two of three from the IronBirds in Aberdeen. That’s hardly the situation you want to present itself.
The IronBirds & Cyclones are also battling for the McNamara Division title, and a berth into the playoffs, so both of those teams will be fighting to keep their season alive.
Let’s now turn to the flipside. If the ValleyCats beat the Spinners in Lowell tonight and come back to Troy in first place with a 1/2 game lead, they will then control their own destiny. At the very worst, they will need to match Lowell’s results in Aberdeen. That’s a much better situation to be in.
Tonight, the ‘Cats have an ace in the hole, literally, in starting pitcher and league ERA leader Michael Feliz. Feliz will need to shut down the Spinners and give the ‘Cats offense a chance to score some runs and take the first lead. They can’t afford to fall behind, as the offense is already tense as it is, and they don’t need that to increase by falling behind, putting more pressure on them.
The ‘Cats defense and baserunning will also have to help out Feliz by not committing any errors or mental mistakes. Over the course of the past five days, there has been a lot of that, and they can’t afford it tonight.
Another thing to consider, who will step up for the ‘Cats and be the vocal leader of the team? They need that person now, as desperately as they need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Last night the ‘Cats were defeated in Brooklyn 8-1, but still remain four games ahead of the Lowell Spinners for first place in the Stedler Division. The magic number for the ‘Cats to clinch the Stedler Division championship is now at six games, with 10 more left to play.
If the ‘Cats win the division, it will be their third divisional title in four years (’10, ’12, ’13). Two of the remaining games will be played in Lowell against the Spinners on Saturday, August 31 & Sunday, September 1.
Potential playoff tickets for games played at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium are now on-sale!
Tickets will be sold in 4-game packs (to cover all potential home playoff games) and also individually. Premium 4-game pack of playoff tickets will be $34.50, reserved will be $28.50, and grandstand will be $19.50. Single game tickets will be priced at $11.50, $9.50 & $6.50.
They will be available for purchase online at www.tcvalleycats.com, at the ValleyCats box office, or by phone at 518-629-CATS. ValleyCats plan holders will still be able to buy their seats or in close proximity to, until September 2.
Dates and times of 2013 potential playoff games at “The Joe” are still to be determined. If you purchase playoff tickets, and the game does not get played, we will issue you equal value ticket vouchers for the 2014 regular season.
Home Game A: Semi-Final Series BUY TICKETS>>
Home Game B: Semi-Final Series or Championship Series BUY TICKETS>>
Home Game C: Championship Series BUY TICKETS>>
Home Game D: Championship Series BUY TICKETS>>
Things got a little hairy at “The Joe” on Saturday night as the ‘Cats attempted to set a new world record for the largest gathering of people wearing false moustaches.
The first place ValleyCats returned to “The Joe” on Friday night as they welcomed the Staten Island Yankees.
The ‘Cats jumped out to a 9-0 lead with a third inning barrage that saw every member of the starting lineup cross the plate. D’Andre Toney, Tyler White, Conrad Gregor, and Tyler White each had two hits to pace the attack. Gregor had the biggest blow with a long home run in the 6th. Kyle Westwood was sharp in four innings of relief to earn the win.
Tonight was also “I Love New York Night”/Home Improvement Night at the ballpark. Our friends from Trustco Bank were on hand with Trusty tossing out a ceremonial first pitch. They were also recognized as one of the co-champions in the Capital Region Series Tournament and received their trophy prior to the game
Country True Value was in the house with a special presentation for Home Improvement Night.
A number of our other partners helped give the concourse a home-show feel including:
Mayor Jennings grabbed some big air off the tarp but ended up in right field allowing Mayor McCarthy to take home the victory!
Spiedie and Blue were up to their usual antics as well . . .
The ‘Cats go for their third win in a row on the field and a new World Record in the stands. Join us as we try to establish the largest gathering of people wearing false mustaches ever! The first 3,000 fans through the gate will receive a fake mustache with the official attempt taking place in the 2nd inning! Tonight’s game is presented by Monolith Solar. Monolith is also providing free tickets for veterans. Those tickets can be claimed at the gate with a military ID.
By Matt Appel (@mattappel)
Aloha, ‘Cats fans! It’s Beach Party Island Night here at “The Joe” as the ValleyCats look to snap a two-game losing streak. Tonight is the final game of a quick two-game homestand against the Lake Monsters, before these two teams travel to Burlington for another two-gamer.
-With the loss last night, the ‘Cats fell half-a-game behind Lowell in the Stedler. There are 16 games left on the regular season for both teams, including tonight. There’s plenty of time for the ValleyCats to make up this tiny deficit, especially with the fact that the two teams play a two-game series in Lowell at the end of the month.
-A few roster moves to pass along. RHP Zachary Dando has been added to the roster from the GCL Astros. Tanner Bushue, who had been hit really, really hard of late, has been added to the 7-day DL. That could possibly explain his performance last night, when he was rocked for six runs in two innings.
-2010 ValleyCats RHP David Martinez was promoted today from Oklahoma City to Houston today, becoming the 29th former Tri-City player to make it to the bigs. Martinez is the third former ‘Cat in the past month to get a major league call-up, joining Jorge De Leon and Chia-Jen Lo. Congratulations to David!
-Despite the not-so-pretty-loss last night, the silver lining had to be the bullpen. After Bushue’s short outing, Randall Fant and Charles Basford combined to throw seven innings of one-run ball to keep the ‘Cats as close in the game as they could. They also kept most of the relievers fresh for tonight’s game, but I’m assuming Ed Romero isn’t planning on going to his ‘pen after two innings once again.
-Tomorrow, I head back to school at Syracuse, so tonight will be my final game. When I was offered the opportunity to come back again this season, I could barely contain my excitement because I love this job. Why do I love this job? Well, I get to follow a team with such a passionate fan base like the ValleyCat faithful. It has been an unforgettable summer for myself, and hopefully for you great folks as well. While it is exciting to get my senior year underway, it pains me to be leaving the team and the organization in the midst of a pennant race. If the ‘Cats make the postseason again, I will do all I can to make a return to Troy. In the meantime, Evan Valenti (@evanvalenti) will be taking over. Those familiar with Evan know that he is a pro’s pro, so the blog and the play-by-play side of things are in good hands with him.
The ‘Cats were home on Monday for the first time in a week as they opened a quick two-game homestand against the Vermont Lake Monsters. The first 1,500 fans through the gates received a bobblehead of a CBS 6 News Anchor Greg Floyd, voted on by the fans during the Media Bobblehead Bracket Buster Tournament in March. Floyd represented Hannah’s Hope Fund, so Hannah bobbleheads were also handed out!
Before the game, the ValleyCats presented Hannah, her family, and Greg with a check for $1, 500 dollars for the Hannah’s Hope Fund! Hannah also threw out a first pitch and sang an outstanding rendition of the national anthem!
Greg Floyd also tossed a first pitch before Monday’s game got underway!
The ‘Cats held another check presentation once the game got underway as part of the New York-Penn League Scholarship Fund. Brittnay Rose Egnot was the recipient of a $2, 500 check from the NYPL! Congrats to Brittnay!
BlueShield, Nami, and Hannah’s Hope were all on hand with table set up throughout the stadium! We were glad to see so many reps from these groups on Monday!
After Mayor McCarty took home the victory in the Mayors Race, the Tri-City mayors joined Sporty for an on-field performance of the Macarena!
In the hot dog race, Ketchup, Mustard & Relish took off on foot in search of a win. Ultimately, it was Mustard who broke away from the pack to take first place!
On the field, the ‘Cats dropped their second game in a row, as the Lake Monsters took the first game of the series, 7-2. Tanner Bushue was roughed up early, and the ‘Cats were down 6-0 after an inning and a half. Tyler White had two hits, and Ernesto Genoves scored a run, serving as bright spots for Tri-City offensively. Randall Fant pitched four strong innings in relief.
The ‘Cats wrap up their two-game homestand tonight on Beach Party Island Night at The Joe! Break out your leis and flip flops and enjoy the action, including a Price Chopper Fireworks show after the final out! Berm seating still available by calling the stadium box office at 518-629-2287!